The Utah Jazz win over the Memphis Grizzlies saw a familiar trend continue – Bojan Bogdanovic played great while Mike Conley struggled to find his shot.
The Utah Jazz are sitting at a decent 12-7 record, but there’s no denying that things have been ugly of late. After giving up huge leads against the Golden State Warriors and New Orleans Pelicans leading to too-close-for-comfort victories, the Jazz dropped a pair of contests to both the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers.
Then, although they got back to their winning ways on Friday in Memphis, it wasn’t exactly a reassuring win. In fact, if there’s such a thing as a moral loss, that’s exactly what this one was.
First off, let me remind the readers that the Memphis Grizzlies entered the game 5-12, the second-worst mark in the Western Conference. Bluntly, they’re not a good team, and the Jazz should have been able to outmatch them as such.
Instead, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 15-point first half lead in which the Jazz looked sluggish and out-of-sorts. It was an ugly and frustrating start which has become all too familiar for the 2019-20 Jazz. Fortunately, a huge third quarter in which the Jazz outscored Memphis 35-18 allowed them to get back in the game. It was close from then on out, with the Jazz only just staving off the Grizzlies in the final minutes, though it was a one-possession game late in the fourth.
And the game was largely defined by the play of Utah’s two key offseason acquisitions, but in two very different ways. Namely, a trend that has been in effect all season continued – Bojan Bogdanovic thrived while Mike Conley struggled.
Bogey was red-hot, finishing with a game-high 33 points on 12-of-20 (60 percent) shooting from the field and 4-of-8 (50 percent) shooting from the perimeter.
Meanwhile, Conley’s slump continued and worsened as he went a dismal 3-of-13 from the field (23.1 percent). He did do some other nice things such as adding seven rebounds and four assists without a turnover. But the simple fact remains that he has to find his shot if the Jazz are to come anywhere close to reaching their potential.
I still believe in Conley’s ability to get it going, but thus far his lack of efficiency has been highly disappointing and nothing short of alarming. He’s dropped to just 36.1 percent field goal shooting for the season which is by far a career-low.
The good news is that if Conley can get back on track, then an already 12-7 Jazz team is going to quickly start to look much better and could very well still find a way to become as good as advertised. Unfortunately, until he does so, and as long as other lingering issues, such as poor bench play and inefficiency from Donovan Mitchell, continue, they’re going to keep on struggling to keep pace with the league’s elite.